You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 18, 2010.

Could this be the worse day of the whole trip? It’s definitely a contender. We got stuck in a stretch of black cotton soil shortly after leaving the camp this morning.

The track followed the river Khwai and it was deep and muddy in places. We tried to get out by locking the diffs and reversing to try and power out, but there was no way we could move. We were properly stuck! We knew there were vehicles at the camp, 2 miles away, so I started walking back with the GPS to get help. Not long after, I heard a safari vehicle approaching. Once they got to me, I asked for help, but they seemed reluctant to break up their journey with the tourists to come and help.

They gave me a lift back to where we camped at least and I asked the group of South African’s to come and pull us out. They didn’t hang around and before long, I was in the back with another three vehicles in convoy. It was funny to hear them talking over their cb radios to make sure the route ahead was OK. As we got near to where we had got stuck, I noticed a Land Rover parked quite close. The owner was inside and his wife had gone to see Bun. He offered to help first and got his recovery straps out.

We gave him our recovery strap  and he joined the two together. His Defender had no chance at getting us out. It couldn’t pull the weight of our heavy Landcruiser. Then stepped up the new V8 Landcruiser with it’s heavy duty recovery strap. We were out in seconds. It took another go to get us properly out and back on the grass. On our way again we were unsure which way to go. We didn’t fancy loads more water and mud crossings, so we headed back to the main track to the north gate. That was all well, but we hit a few deep sections of water that came just up over the bonnet. We were told there would be a few sections like this, so knew we would be OK.

We got through and reached the north gate. There was a new bridge over the river Khwai, saving us going over the old battered bridge. I checked under the bonnet to see if everything was ok after we signed into the Park. All of the fan blades had broken off and there was some damage to the inside of the radiator. We were 20 kms from the other entrance and then another 50kms to Maun, where we could get it fixed.

It looked like the radiator was leaking, so we had a safari driver look at it at the south gate. He said, we should be OK till we get to Maun, but just take extra water in case it starts overheating. Still, we were thinking it looked pretty bad when we first saw it. As soon as we got to Maun, we got a price for the fan blade, so we were ok to find a replacement for that. We also got a contact for a small company that specialises in fixing radiators and they said they would be able to fix it the next morning for £50.

We got a fake Toyota blade and went back to The Old bridge. I got a run in, and we didn’t cook again and had ox-tail and mash from the restaurant. It tasted fantastic after all that had happened today.

Not as urgent to get going early today. We had less mileage to cover, but still had to take the same track back to the Mababe gate of Chobi. We had time to pick up some lunch in Kasane and some mixers for the gin. Always well needed after a long day.

Once we hit the sand, we were bombing along trying to keep to the 40kmp speed limit that the park sets. The sand is great to drive in. It turns the day into a safari rally, as we try and make up time. Time seemed to go quickly and before we knew it, we were at Savuti for lunch before cracking onto Khwai.

A couple of deep water sections and we arrivred at the river to camp at Magotho. A great spot. there were some other vehicles that had made it there and we found a spot to ourselves. Some elephants came nearby as we were setting up camp.

A massive drive today. A bit crazy considering it was all off-road and through sand, but it was some of the best driving we’ve had on the trip. Bun drove the first three hours then I took over. Almost the perfect environment to travel in. Sand tracks that are as straight as an arrow. Set amongst dense Mopane forest, it took us over six hours travelling like this to get to Kasane. We didn’t see much game but got a treat of a male lion mating! Also a short distance away was a female with some cubs. Great to see and a first. We would have liked to have watched them for longer but we had to move on. We stopped once in the Chobi Forest Reserve for some lunch.

We wanted to get to the Chobi riverfront to do a game drive to Kasane. Our wish of seeing large herds of elephants came true. We must have seen over a hundred ele’s in the 20km’s it took to drive along the riverfront. A few herds slowed us down as they blocked the track. Bun told me to rev the engine for a while to scare them off after we saw a local do it on a track in Moremi. It worked after a while and we were off again. I’ve still not overcome my fear of elephants. Something that is bigger than the  Landcruiser we were sitting in is something to fear, in my eyes. Bun says that’s silly and they won’t do us any harm. Yer, right!

We met the Aussie couple, who were travelling on a large overland truck, that night. We first met them in Uganda, so we spent a while chatting to them and catching up. We were too tired to cook so we ate at the restaurant at the camp.

May 2010